“What’s your greatest weakness?”

This classic job interview question is on most interviewers’ lists for a reason: How you talk about your weaknesses and failures reveals a great deal about who you are, how you view the world and what you’ll do when faced with a challenge or setback on the job. Here’s how to talk about your weaknesses in a job interview.

Choose a weakness you’ve worked to overcome.

If you’re like most professionals in the energy industry, your weaknesses aren’t areas that are central to your profession, which you’ve worked hard to be good at. Instead, they’re things you’ve managed to compensate for, work around or simply avoid.

When preparing for your interview, think about weaknesses you are currently working to overcome.  This way, when you mention your weakness, you can also talk about what you’re doing to address it.  For example, you might say, “I occasionally procrastinate on my paperwork because I’m more interested in the details of a problem itself. Because I know this can be tough on my team and supervisor, I make it a point to schedule two hours each Friday to finish it. This way I’m never more than a week behind.”

Avoid blame.

Blaming others for your weaknesses is interview suicide. It communicates to the interviewer you don’t have the inner strength to own your own faults, to assess them honestly or to work to overcome them.  But blaming yourself doesn’t help your case either. It indicates you’re more interested in faulting someone than you are in fixing the problem.

Instead of assigning blame, take responsibility in one sentence or less, then talk immediately about solutions. Avoid using words that sound judgmental, like “lazy,” “foolish” or “terrible,” to describe your weakness. Instead, state it for what it is: “When I don’t immediately know how to answer a question, I’ll let it fall to the bottom of my priority list.” Then, talk about how you address this weakness: “Now, I put a note on my computer monitor, so I remember to look up the answer and address it by the end of the day.”

At FootBridge Energy Services, our experienced recruiters specialize in helping you connect with the best job openings in the oil and gas industry and in helping you present yourself and your skills in the best possible light. Contact us today to learn more about our employment opportunities in the energy sector.